Saturday, September 18, 2010

Immature Yellow-crowned Night Heron

After some searching on the internet to find out the difference between an immature Yellow-crowned Night Heron and an immature Black-crowned Night Heron, I've decided that this must be an immature Yellow-crowned Night Heron.

It seems they look very similar in the wild, and if the two species are not together, then it's very hard to tell them apart. They both have white speckled bodies and faces, their eye color is the same, and their bill and leg colors are the same. So, how did I tell the difference when only one species is present? I guess knowing little details would make it an educated guess. According to all the sources I'd seen on the net and in my books, the only way to tell the difference is by looking at the color of their plumage and the length of their legs and stoutness of their bills.

My most trusted source is the Field Guide to Birds (Eastern Region) by the National Audubon Society. According to their book, young Yellow-crowned Night Herons are grayer, with stouter bills and longer legs than the young Black-crowned Night Herons. Since colors can be deceiving depending on the light cast, and I couldn't compare the legs, all I had to go on was the stoutness of the beak. Lucky for me, the Field Guide to Birds also has photos of both species. I matched up the beak, and made a definitive identification. This is a Yellow-crowned Night Heron!
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